Fact Checked

How do I Choose the Best Silver Plated Flatware?

Laura Evans
Laura Evans

When shopping for silver plated flatware, a buyer should consider what size of silver plated flatware set to buy. Then, the buyer should take into consideration the size, balance, and weight of the silverplate. In addition, the silver plated flatware should complement the china that is used to serve food. Finally, one might consider buying vintage or antique sliver plated flatware rather than new sliver plated flatware.

Silver plated flatware is forks, knives, spoons and other eating and serving utensils made from a metal alloy, or combination of metals, that is coated with silver. The metals commonly used to make the alloy that is the base for silver plated flatware include nickel, zinc, and copper. This typically makes plated flatware more expensive than stainless steel flatware, but less expensive than sterling silver flatware.

Silver plated flatware.
Silver plated flatware.

Flatware is sold in different sizes of sets so that people can accommodate a few or a crowd using the same flatware design. Sizes of sets include service for four, service for eight, service for 12 and service for 20. Sets are also available in children's sizes.

The feel of the silver plated flatware is also important to the purchasing decision. Plated flatware should literally feel good in the hands because of the flatware's weight and the balance, or how the weight is distributed over a piece, of the flatware. In addition, the plated flatware should be the right size. Those who have large hands will more comfortable using larger dinner forks than smaller dinner forks.

Silver plated flatware should complement the dishes or china with which the flatware will be used. This comes down, like weight, size and balance, to personal preference. Some may like a simple flatware design to offset an ornate set of china, while others may be happier with a complex silverplate design.

There are several advantages to buying new silver plated flatware instead of vintage or antique flatware. One advantage is that new flatware is easier to compare with other designs and sizes because a retailer offers more than one pattern at a time. In addition, new plated flatware always comes in complete sets. New plated flatware will also last longer than used flatware because the silver on silver plated items wears away over time with use and when polished.

One of the advantages of buying vintage or antique silver plated flatware is that using vintage forks and knives is green. No new energy is spent manufacturing a used set of flatware. In addition, because it is not economically feasible to separate and recycle the silver from silverplate, unused silverplate may end up in a landfill. Some people also enjoy that vintage flatware may be rare and unusual.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel -- My cousin found a beautiful set in just that way! She went to an estate sale. She was looking for a silver set and carried one of those polish saturated cloths with her. She saw a set that was solid black from tarnish and rubbed the tarnish off a piece with her cloth and fell in love.

She was able to get the whole antique silver set, including a teapot and sugar and creamer. It took her probably six weeks to get it all polished, but it was breathtaking when she finished. I think she paid about $50 for the whole set. Unreal bargain.


I would so love to run across a set of silver flatware at an estate sale or similar. Antique stores charge too darn much for it! They act like they're charging per troy ounce for the stuff!

At an estate sale, people are just trying to unload items, so it's better to look at places like that. And if you can find a set that's tarnished beyond recognition, so much the better. No one will want it and you can get a great price for the expenditure of a little polish and elbow grease. All you need is the willingness to clean it up.

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    • Silver plated flatware.
      Silver plated flatware.